In the beginning

1968 – Millyford Bridge

The very first November Classic took place at Millyford Bridge on 24th November 1968. The event was organised by Merry Oak School, Southampton.

294 competitors enjoyed four O courses and two wayfarer courses planned by Keith Parris. Ink stamp punches were uesed. The map was a black & white 2 1/2 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey.

Mike Johnson was the organiser, and Mike Wells-Cole the “Vetter”. The event was covered by Southern TV and made it onto the 5:30 evening news!

1969 – Backley

Shortly after the 1968 event Southampton Orienteering Club formed and took ownership of the November Classic.

The second event was at Backley on 23rd November 1969. It followed a similar format to the first but the map was an improvement being at a scale of 1:25,000 and redrawn in colour by Ray Massey. Keith Parris was the planner, again, of 4 courses enjoyed by 374 competitors.  Roger Thompson was the Vetter.

1970 – Castle Malwood

For the third November Classic we saw it move to its regular spot of the first Sunday in November. In 1970 that was 1st November. The entry continued its steady rise with 477 orienteers running on the four courses planned by Ray Massey. Ray was also the mapper with this year’s scale climbing to 1:20,000.

Clive Stainer was the organiser, introducing the very high-tech pin punches.